Main page

This article is about 'the engine'. You may be looking for 'the controller.

Peter Sam, named after the Skarloey Railway's previous controller, Mr. Peter Sam - originally known as Stuart, after his builder, Kerr Stuart - is a narrow gauge saddle tank engine who lives and works on the Skarloey Railway.


The Railway Series

Stuart was built by Kerr Stuart & Co at their California Works in Stoke-on-Trent, England in 1920 to their standard industrial pattern. He was delivered by rail to Cronk and hauled from there to the Mid Sodor Railway's station at Peel Godred by traction engine. Following a pattern of the MSR naming its engines after their builders, he was named "Stuart".[1]

While living on the Mid Sodor Railway, he was cheeky and occasionally made fun of Duke until he was told about what happened to Stanley.

When the Mid Sodor Railway closed in 1947, he and Falcon were sold to the Sodor Aluminium Company at Peel Godred for an expansion project. Following the project's completion in 1951, they were oiled, greased and sheeted under tarpaulins ready for disposal and stood for a year in the Company's yard. In 1952, they were purchased for the knockdown price of £50 (£25 each) by Sir Handel Lloyd Brown for service on the Skarloey Railway, overhauled and repainted in SR livery at Crovan's Gate Works and renamed Peter Sam and Sir Handel respectively.[2]

Since arriving, Peter Sam has had many adventures. When he was new to the railway, he had a mishap with Henry after he jokingly threatened to leave without his passengers if he was late. He left so quickly that he left the Refreshment Lady behind, who explained that Henry was only joking and that he has to wait, as he was a guaranteed connection. One of his more notable story arcs involved his funnel, which was severely damaged after an accident at the incline in 1958 with the Slate Trucks. In 1961, the funnel was knocked-off as he passed under a tunnel and it was temporarily replaced with a rusty pipe. Peter Sam was soon given a new funnel, a Giesl ejector, which suits him much better and has improved his performance.

When Skarloey and Rheneas' centenary was to feature a duke to open a new part of the line of the railway, Duck told Peter Sam that all Dukes were scrapped, causing Peter Sam to fear that the centenary would be ruined. It was not until the real duke came to open the new loop line that proved him wrong, although Peter Sam was left disappointed as it was not the Duke he and Sir Handel knew. Their Duke was later discovered and brought to their railway.

In 1982, Peter Sam, not wanting to miss James' train, damaged his valve gear after he recklessly ploughed through some branches, which got caught in it. Although the passengers and the guard managed to cut him out, his front was left sore for several days.

For most of the 1990s, Peter Sam visited the Talyllyn Railway in Wales. During his visit, he took on bad water and when he got to the station, it sprayed sludge out of his funnel. Unfortunately for him, he had to stay in a siding while Talyllyn took his train, as the visitors wanted to see him. He soon learned that the water used on the Talyllyn Railway had a special powder that was used to enhance its flavour and too much of it was used. Peter Sam was soon cleaned and when he got back home in 1996, he told his story to two young volunteers named Kathy and Lizzie, who found the story very funny.

Thomas & Friends

Peter Sam has always been a cheery little engine. He often works closely with his friend Rusty. Once, after Rusty helped him to a water tower, Peter Sam's trucks decided to break away. They did and rolled down the track, derailing on the Old Iron Bridge and plunging into the ravine below. Because Peter Sam and his crew did not secure the trucks properly, the Fat Controller made Peter Sam work in the yards until he could be trusted again. He is next seen at the Skarloey Coal Yard, and after that, he is seen moving trucks about in the slate yard when the railway was shut down.

Through the valiant effort of Rusty, Elizabeth, Skarloey, and Rheneas, the railway was reopened, and Peter Sam was out and about again, but he was promptly relegated to not working again when a low-hanging tree branch knocked his whistle right off. Duncan told him that an engine's not an engine without a whistle, but Peter Sam did not let Duncan get to him. When Duncan came back to the depot, having lost his own whistle, he found Peter Sam with a shiny new one. Peter Sam felt sorry for "Duncan the musical engine", and compliments him for managing to deliver his goods without a whistle, but he cannot help but echo the "An engine's not an engine without a whistle" line.

He also helped the Refreshment Lady find a place to put her new tea shop, in an old restored coach.


Peter Sam, named Stuart in his younger days while being brought up under the instruction of Duke, is highly enthusiastic, eager and bubbly. He can be occasionally cheeky, but is kind-hearted, well-meaning and good mannered. He can also be prone to being a little naïve at times and perhaps take things a little too literally. Peter Sam has a special funnel which makes puffing much easier for him, after his old one was damaged in a nasty accident with some trucks that broke free from the incline. With an infectious attitude and high spirits, Peter Sam is almost kind and hard-working to a fault, and seldom grumbles about late hours or extra work. He accepts whatever job he gets and is always nice to the coaches and trucks, unlike Sir Handel.

Despite being friendly with everyone, when the bigger engines, such as Henry or Duck, tease him or cause him to misunderstand something, he can get very angry and wish to give them a piece of his mind.


Peter Sam is based on the Talyllyn Railway's Edward Thomas. Interestingly, Edward Thomas only donned the Giesl Ejector funnel for a limited time, while Peter Sam has used it since its introduction.


In the Railway Series, Peter Sam was painted green while working on the Mid Sodor Railway. After arriving on the Skarloey Railway, he was repainted in the Skarloey Railway's red livery with blue-and-yellow lining.

In the television series, Peter Sam has always been painted dark green with red and yellow lining.


Railway Series

Television series

Annual Stories


  • The Reverend W. Awdry's model of Peter Sam is currently on display at the Narrow Gauge Museum in Tywyn. Awdry's model of Stuart was at the Reverend Teddy Boston's Cadeby Light Railway, before the railway finally closed in 2005.
  • Peter Sam's large scale model is currently on display at Hara Model Railway Museum in Kyoto, Japan.
  • Peter Sam's small scale model (used in the fourth and fifth seasons) with a slate truck was sold at Vectis for £2600.
  • Peter Sam's small scale model had bent side rods throughout the fourth and fifth seasons.
  • His original Wooden Railway toy along with Thomas' both made a cameo appearance in an episode of Australia's Funniest Home Videos.
  • The Gisele Ejector was removed from Peter Sam's basis, Edward Thomas, however, the same has yet to be done to Peter Sam.
  • Peter Sam has undergone numerous modifications through the television series, including:
    • Season 4:
      • The special funnel, which appears to be more of a simple square funnel than a Giesl Ejector design.
    • Season 5 (Large scale model only):
      • His buffers changed from grey to silver.
      • His eyes and nose became slightly larger.
      • His running board changed shape slightly.
      • His eyebrows changed shape.
    • Season 6:
      • His buffers were painted black.
      • His whistle changed shape slightly.


"Peter Sam's said again and again,
his new funnel will put ours to shame.
He went into the tunnel
lost his old funnel.
Now his famous new funnel's a drain!"

- Sir Handel teasing Peter Sam, Special Funnel, Gallant Old Engine